Saturday, December 24, 2011

Grover Norquist's Real Game: Shifting Power and Wealth to the 1 Percent

Norquist's real mission has been government that serves corporate America. December 20, 2011 Grover Norquist is fast becoming the man everyone loves to hate – except those who fear him. Norquist, the leader of Americans for Tax Reform, is both the architect and enforcer of the Republican Party’s obsessive opposition to all taxes – an obsession that threatens to drive America off a fiscal cliff. Every Republican running for president (except John Huntsman) has signed Norquist’s no-tax pledge. So have 13 governors, 1,300 state legislators, 40 of the 47 Republicans in the Senate, and 236 of the 242 Republicans in the House. Politicians who refuse to sign Norquist’s pledge – or who violate it after getting elected by voting for tax increases -- risk facing his wrath in the next election. To avoid getting branded as pro-tax, they sign. Few candidates have wanted to appear “soft” on taxes since Ronald Reagan beat Walter Mondale in 1984 after the Democrat said that, if elected, he’d raise taxes. READ MORE

How Can the World's Richest Country Let Children Go Hungry? 6 Tricks Corporate Elites Use to Hoard All the Wealth

America is filthy rich, but the money is hidden away by the 1 percent while poverty rises all around. December 21, 2011 “Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans, nearly 1 in 2, have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income." “Study: 1 in 5 American children lives in poverty." “In 2010, 17.2 million households, 14.5 percent of households (approximately one in seven), were food insecure, the highest number ever recorded in the United States.” What’s going on here? Aren't we the richest country on earth? Day in and day out we are told that if the government doesn’t tighten its belt, we’re all headed for debtor’s prison. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are under attack. State budgets are in disarray. Teachers and firemen are getting canned. Public services are slashed. This is the new America and we'd better get used to it, the pundits proclaim. You would think we were a poor country. But we’re not. We’re filthy rich, but the money is hidden away by the 1 percent while poverty rises all around. Here’s why. READ MORE

The Nasty Truth About the Online Retailers You Probably Used for Your Holiday Shopping

The workers who box the stuff we order online are often treated terribly. December 23, 2011 The following article first appeared in Mother Jones. For more great content from Mother Jones, sign up for free email updates here. Since June, I've been ruining my friends' online-shopping lives. Back then, I reported on a vast warehouse in Ohio where goods bought from online retailers are sorted, boxed, and shipped to consumers. Unsurprisingly, this job does not pay well. A little more surprisingly, this job seems designed to crush employees' spirits. During my visit, two people got fired within 10 minutes, one for talking to someone while he was working—"Where are you from?" was the offending comment—and one for going to the bathroom too much. So occasionally, and now more that it's the holidays, my friends and family will call to complain that "Bleh, I want to order something from Amazon/Walmart/Staples/whatever, but I feel guilty about helping oppress workers." Why would online retailers be so mean? Well, in the case of many, they have helpfully outsourced interaction with workers. When Walmart started selling its merchandise on the internet, it turned to third-party logistics contractors, or 3PLs, experts who could handle the, uh, logistics, like warehousing and transportation, of online sales. Take Exel, for example, the largest 3PL in the country, and a subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL, one of the largest companies in the world. READ MORE

Which Bank Is the Worst for America? 5 Behemoths That Hold Our Political System Hostage

We've ranked the banks based on how shamelessly they game the political process through lobbying, revolving door politics and campaign donations. October 19, 2011 The economic crash led to the loss of 9 million jobs and the biggest drop in American home-ownership since the Great Depression. Long-term unemployment, poverty and hunger have increased dramatically. People are angry. The Occupy Wall Street movement, a stand against Wall Street's greed, excess and criminality, has captured the imagination and participation of millions across the nation and the globe. The giant mortgage bubble and the irresponsible and corrupt practices that caused the catastrophic economic crash didn't emerge out of thin air. They were a consequence of decades of pay-to-play politics rife with conflicts of interest; a political system awash in cash and legal pay-offs, designed to undermine the checks and balances that could have prevented the meltdown. Many of these checks and balances were implemented during the Great Depression. How they were eroded and eventually abandoned is the story of a small group of banks, financial companies and elites involved in major conflicts of interest, revolving-door politics and backroom deal-making -- all to protect the interests of the global elite at the expense of the American public. READ MORE

War Industry’s Accountants Can’t Count

The war profiteers’ shady lobbying campaign took another hit to its credibility today, as an accounting firm on which they relied to support their bogus “military spending = jobs” argument was cited for severe audit deficiencies. As our new War Costs short video shows, the war industry’s Second To None lobbying effort specifically cited numbers from Deloitte & Touche to claim an inflated importance of the military industrial sector to the U.S. economy. This claim was part of their larger effort, thoroughly debunked by our prior work, to try to convince Congress to protect their gravy train from budget cuts by tying war spending to job creation. Their entire narrative is false–military spending actually costs jobs compared to other ways of spending the money. READ MORE

Kazakhstan hires Blair as star consultant

Kazakhstan said on Monday it has hired Britain's ex-prime minister Tony Blair as a consultant to attract new investment to the Central Asian state, on a contract reportedly worth millions of dollars. The hire marks a major coup for strongman President Nursultan Nazarbayev's bid to promote Kazakhstan as an economic powerhouse despite complaints from critics that the country pays little heed to Western democratic standards. The Daily Telegraph earlier said Blair had signed a one-year contract worth eight million pounds ($12.7 million) with the government of Nazarbayev, who has ruled Kazakhstan since even before the Soviet collapse. The foreign ministry refused to confirm the figure but said Blair was one of several foreign officials contracted by the Kazakh state. READ MORE

Bankers Are Using the Eurozone Crisis to Wage Warfare on Working People and Seize Control of Governments

Wages and living standards are to be scaled back and political power shifted from elected government to technocrats governing on behalf of big banks and financial institutions. December 19, 2011 This piece was first published in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung The easiest way to understand Europe’s financial crisis is to look at the solutions being proposed to resolve it. They are a banker’s dream, a grab bag of giveaways that few voters would be likely to approve in a democratic referendum. Bank strategists learned not to risk submitting their plans to democratic vote after Icelanders twice refused in 2010-11 to approve their government’s capitulation to pay Britain and the Netherlands for losses run up by badly regulated Icelandic banks operating abroad. Lacking such a referendum, mass demonstrations were the only way for Greek voters to register their opposition to the €50 billion in privatization sell-offs demanded by the European Central Bank (ECB) in autumn 2011. READ MORE

The 1 Percenters Who Act Like Scrooge...and the Ones Who Don't

Some say that the 99 percent should shut up and thank the fatcats for their crust of bread. But a few 1 percenters think that's humbug. December 22, 2011 It's holiday season, and mean-spirited misers abound. GOP legislators have Dickensian plans for the 99 percent, aiming at shredding our social safety nets, undermining our healthcare, and making us pay for the financial crisis created by reckless financiers. Naturally, they decry even a modest income tax surcharge on millionaires, channeling Scrooge-worthy logic to justify their worship of Big Money at the expense of everyone else. Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase honcho Jamie Dimon, the highest paid executive among the six biggest and most dangerous banks, whines that he doesn't deserve our ire: "Acting like everyone who's been successful is bad and because you're rich you're bad, I don't understand it," said Dimon, whose 2010 take totaled $23 million. Let us help you understand it. We don't hate you because you're rich, Mr. Dimon. READ MORE

So, In Conclusion, The Koch Bros Are Not As Bad As Dick Cancer

Firedoglake / By TBogg The Washington Post's Ombudsman attempts a pull back from WaPo's rerunning of the Bloomberg expose on the Koch Bros. Shorter WaPo OBM: We can't disagree with anything Bloomberg Markets said about the Koch Bros illegal activities, but we should have included his paid PR denial even though it didn't shake the original story, and besides there are lots of other corporate evil doers besides the 4th richest men in America. Click here to read the entire article...

FBI Finally Revises Its Definition of "Rape" After 84 Years

The FBI’s official definition of rape, via its Uniform Crime Report, has remained unchanged since 1927: “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” Obviously, this is problematic on a number of levels–basically, every word except for “the” and “of.” 1. the carnal knowledge – excluding any assault with fingers or foreign objects, on any orifice but the vagina 2. of a female – excluding anyone not a cis female (the definition actually explicitly classifies male rape victims as 3. forcibly – excluding any assault involving drugs or coercion 4. and against her will – excluding statutory rape Correction–the words “a” and “and” also seem pretty square. We can’t know exactly how many rapes have gone uncounted to date, because the government doesn’t track figures on we-don’t-consider-it-rapes. And so we can’t know how much funding has been withheld based on the not-real-number of rapes counted. But in the interest of clearer accounting, the FBI’s UCR subcommittee has voted unanimously to put forward a new definition for vote by the advisory board: Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration of a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. Now, this change doesn’t directly affect rape arrests, charges, or convictions–this is about records and reporting. But this can help keep the number of reported rates more closely in line with the number of actualrapes, meaning that federal resources can be directed to prosecution ofactual rapes. So it’s progress, 84 years in the making. FROM THE SITE

The 1%'s Own Terror Gives the Game Away

I had a weird revelation the other day: the ultimate success or failure of the Occupy Wall Street Movement will not be determined by the protesters themselves, but by the 1% and all of their political and media enablers. But believe it or not, the 1% do feel . . . well, probably not guilt . . . but at least a vague and deeply disturbing apprehension that they may have to pay for what they’ve done in their sociopathy. And it is this that will help ensure the Occupy Movement’s continuing success. One of the strengths of the Occupy Movement is that there are no formal demands, no formal leaders, just a large and growing mob of people agitating against the status quo for very many different reasons. Of course, this isn’t just “rebellion for rebellion’s sake” – despite the diversity of interests represented in the movement, there are a number of broad issues about which pretty much everybody protesting is justifiably upset. One of these is outrage over the huge inequalities in wealth and income in the United States. For all the critics who have decried the Occupy Movement’s lack of formal demands and concrete ideas for reform (and I admit to being one of those), nobody doubts that this is the movement’s fundamental grievance. Occupy Wall Street’s burgeoning popularity is the onlyreason Eric Cantor felt it necessary to schedule a speech ostensibly about “income inequality” – although it really wasn’t... READ MORE

McConnell's Pro-Unemployment Argument: Republicans Care More About the 1%

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last week kept his caucus united and killed a popular jobs bill during a jobs crisis. The plan — 400,000 jobs for teachers, police officers, and firefighters, paid for with a 0.5% surtax on millionaires and billionaires — was wildly popular with the public, but McConnell and his Senate Republicans killed it anyway. Yesterday on CNN, Candy Crowley asked him why. The GOP leader replied: “Well, Candy, I’m sure that Americans do, I certainly do approve of firefighters and police. The question is whether the federal government ought to be raising taxes on 300,000 small businesses in order to send money down to bail out states for whom firefighters and police work. They are local and state employees. Read more

The 147 Banks and Super-Companies that Run The Entire World Economy

The 1% indeed: a new study of the global economy and wealth concentration has identified a complex system of only 147 banks and corporations around the world which share in the largest chunk of the change. While that number might not seem too shocking to those of us paying attention, this study, "by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power," writes New Scientist. In other words: valuable data which will not only strengthen OWS' political arguments but will help us identify whether, and how, the global economy is unstable. READ MORE

Foreclosures: Don't Slow Them, Romney Says

Mitt Romney says the foreclosure process should run its course. (photo: AP)

Kasie Hunt, Associated Press
Kasie Hunt reports: "Foreclosures need to go forward so the housing market can begin to recover, GOP presidential hopeful Romney says in Nevada. Nevada leads the nation with the highest rate of foreclosures. Romney elaborated during the presidential debate Tuesday night. 'The idea of the federal government running around and saying, 'We're going to give you some money for trading in your old car ... or we're going to keep banks from foreclosing if you can't make your payments,' Romney said, 'The right course is to let markets work.'"

The Class War Has Begun

And the very classlessness of our society makes the conflict more volatile, not less.
The Bonus Army veterans stage a mass vigil on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in 1932. (Photo: MPI/Getty Images) By Frank Rich Published Oct 23, 2011 During the death throes of Herbert Hoover’s presidency in June 1932, desperate bands of men traveled to Washington and set up camp within view of the Capitol. The first contingent journeyed all the way from Portland, Oregon, but others soon converged from all over—alone, in groups, with families—until their main Hooverville on the Anacostia River’s fetid mudflats swelled to a population as high as 20,000. The men, World War I veterans who could not find jobs, became known as the Bonus Army—for the modest government bonus they were owed for their service. Under a law passed in 1924, they had been awarded roughly $1,000 each, to be collected in 1945 or at death, whichever came first. But they didn’t want to wait any longer for their pre–New Deal entitlement—especially given that Congress had bailed out big business with the creation of a Reconstruction Finance Corporation earlier in its session. Father Charles Coughlin, the populist “Radio Priest” who became a phenomenon for railing against “greedy bankers and financiers,” framed Washington’s double standard this way: “If the government can pay $2 billion to the bankers and the railroads, why cannot it pay the $2 billion to the soldiers?” READ MORE

Fox Panel Pushes for Privatizing the United States Post Office

Posted: 23 Oct 2011 03:00 PM PDT From this Saturday's Forbes on Fox, more attacks on labor unions and calls to privatize the United States Postal Service. Host David Asman opened the segment talking about the postal union's decision to hire Ron Bloom, one of the advisers that helped steer the auto industry out of bankruptcy. That was followed by a call from panel member Dennis Kneale to just shut down the whole Post Office and allow FexEx and UPS to buy it and in his words to “chop it up.” Fellow panel member Victoria Barret, while disagreeing with Kneale that it's not possible to just “junk the whole Post Office” and said she still likes sending Christmas cards, but of course thought that the union contracts need to be ripped up. Here was host David Asman's response to that: ASMAN: Well Steve, you can send Christmas cards for free on the Internet now! I mean the Internet changes everything, doesn't it? To which Barret and Forbes responded, “It's not the same.” Well, no it's not but how about someone reminding Asman that the Internet is not free? Forbes continued with the fearmongering that if the Post Office is not privatized, tax payers are going to be on the hook for their pension funds and finally one of their panelists actually pointed out the real problem the Post Office is facing right now, which is that Congress has forced them to over fund their pensions to the tune of $75 billion and if some of that money was returned, it would solve their problems immediately. READ MORE

Reliable Sources Panel Defend Firing of NPR Host and Attack MSNBC's Ratigan for Support of #OWS

Posted: 23 Oct 2011 05:00 PM PDT Apparently Dylan Ratigan inserting himself into the Occupy Wall Street has got the folks over at TeaNN terribly upset, since Howard Kurtz decided to spend a segment carping about it on his show that claims to report on media bias, Reliable Sources. And apparently Kurtz believes someone who was a former Trent Lott staffer and now an anchor on Glenn Beck's GBTV, Amy Holmes, qualifies as some sort of objective "journalist" to weigh in on Ratigan's advocacy of the #OWS protests. READ MORE

Ron Paul On Gutting Fed Gov't: Vote For My Plan and Nobody Gets Hurt!

Posted: 23 Oct 2011 06:00 PM PDT Pardon my French, but what in the hell is Ron Paul talking about? Up until this time, I've sort of brushed off Ron Paul as consistent, but ultimately clueless (sorry, you Paul fans, but libertarianism does not and cannot work. It's not up for debate; it's a ridiculous mindset that glorifies selfishness and ignores that sometimes in life, things happen, and the measure of a society is how the least of us is cared for.) But listening to him tout his economic plan to David Gregory, I've had to conclude that he's more than clueless, he's outright delusional. To the surprise of no one, Paul's economic plan involves cutting $1 trillion immediately, mostly by eliminating the Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Interior and Education departments. Paul's plan would eliminate jobs for 200,000 federal employees, whom he deems "nonproductive". But never fear, Paul assures us that "nobody will be hurt": READ MORE

Santorum: Obama 'Lost the War in Iraq'

By David

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum claimed Sunday that by announcing the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq, President Barack Obama had "lost the war."

The candidate told CBS' Bob Schieffer that the Republican reaction to the president's announcement had been scathing because the Obama administration failed to convince Iraq to give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution.

"We have a president that was not able to set conditions and actually have the kind of influence over the Iraqi government," Santorum complained. "Now, three years the president has had to work with the Iraq government, to try to mold and shape that relationship. And to be in a position where really the Iranians now have more sway over the Iraqi government then the United States just shows the weakness of our diplomatic effort, the weakness of this president." READ MORE

Obama Fulfills Promise To End Iraq War As GOP Wants Endless Engagement

From: The Liberal Curmudgeon
Liberal commentary that attempts to make sense out of the mess we're in.

President Obama fulfilled a campaign promise by announcing that the troops will come home from Iraq by the end of the year. Lawrence O’Donnell recounts the terrible costs of the war, based on false premises of WMD: for Americans, 4,482 lives, 32,213 wounded, 1,146 amputees; for Iraqis, over 100,000 casualties. The Republicans are filled with misgivings at the announcement. Herman Cain wouldn’t have told the enemy about the withdrawal; presumably 39,000 troops could withdraw in secret, with the Iraqi government also kept in the dark and given no time to prepare. Mitt Romney decries Obama’s “astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition,” without specifying how he would do so, if ever. Rick Perry echoes this point. John McCain criticizes this “strategic victory for our enemies." When would the Republicans think is the right time to withdraw and under what circumstances? None of the statements clarify that–and none mention the cost of continuing operations, for all of the GOP's talk about cutting the deficit. Rachel Maddow joins O'Donnell to point out that the Republicans didn’t complain when George Bush negotiated this very withdrawal timeline with the Iraqi government. Watch:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Speaking of which, your quote of the day: ”Well, if that scenario evolves, then I think it's obvious that we would have to leave because - if it was an elected government of Iraq…I don't see how we could stay when our whole emphasis and policy has been based on turning the Iraqi government over to the Iraqi people.” (John McCain, April 22, 2004)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Robertson: SNL Tebow skit fueled by ‘anti-Christian bigotry’

By Andrew Jones
Monday, December 19, 2011

Incensed over Saturday Night Live‘s light-hearted skit on Jesus and football quarterback Tim Tebow, Pat Robertson provided another stern lecture Monday morning to his viewers.

On the latest episode of The 700 Club, the televangelist thought the segment was brought on by “an anti-Christian bigotry that’s disgusting.”

“If this had been a Muslim country and they had done that, and had Muhammad doing that stuff, you would have found bombs being thrown off, and bodies on the street,” he said. “We need more religious faith in our society, we’re losing our moral compass in our nation.”

Robertson went on to praise Tebow for his faith.

“I think he is a wonderful human being,” he said. “And this man has been placed in a unique position and I applaud him, God bless him.”

In 2010, Tebow and his family filmed an anti-abortion Super Bowl ad for Focus on the Family.

WATCH: Video from CBN, which was broadcast on December 19, 2011. Saturday Night Live skit from NBC, which was broadcast on December 17, 2011.

Pat Robinson vid:

SNL vid:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The MNGOP All-Scandal Team: Can't anybody here play this game?

Put your hands together and make some noise for your MNGOP Scandal starting line-up!

By Kevin Hoffman Wed., Dec. 21 2011 at 7:30 AM

After it was revealed that the Vikings lead all NFL teams in arrests, we published a satirical post entitled "Meet the Vikings All-Arrested Team."

Although no one has been arrested (unless you count expired tabs), the MNGOP has lately been giving the Vikings a run for their money when it comes to embarrassing revelations. The constant Parade of Fail brings to mind Mets manager Casey Stengel's oft-quoted statement about the 1962 season: "Can't anybody here play this game?"

In that spirit, we hereby present the MNGOP All-Scandal Team.

Catholic cardinal warns Gay Pride Parade could ‘morph into Ku Klux Klan’

By David Edwards
Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Catholic cardinal in Chicago on Wednesday compared the gay
liberation movement to the Ku Klux Klan.

Appearing on Fox’s Chicago station, Cardinal Francis George
complained that this year’s Gay Pride Parade route would
mean that Our Lady of Mount Carmel might have to cancel
Sunday mass for the first time in almost 100 years.

“You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into
something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the
streets against Catholicism,” George said.

“That’s a little strong analogy, Ku Klux Klan,” Fox
Chicago’s Dane Placko noted.

The 10 Most Ridiculous Right-Wing Outrages of 2011

The right seems to offer up a new trumped-up pseudo-scandal every week. Here are ten of our favorites from the year past.
December 19, 2011

Call them nontroversies, poutrages or pseudo-scandals. Since the 2008 elections, the conservative media have peddled a seemingly endless series of trumped-up non-stories, pitched as scandals rivaling Watergate, to their loyal rubes in an attempt to paint liberals, the media, scientists, Democrats and Obama – and other enemies of the Wingnut State – as perfidious, dishonest or downright treasonous.

A few of them have borne some remote resemblance to reality, but many of their pseudo-scandals featured no more substance than the bizarre right-wing emails your crazy uncle credulously forwards around to friends and family. Yet, with a dedicated conservative media headed by Fox News, many have been mainstreamed on the right, with some spurring calls for investigation by the GOP-led House. Those calls, in turn, then become stories for Fox News and other conservative outlets -- it's a feedback loop full of crazy.

We decided to take a look at the 10 shakiest mythological scandals of the past year. Of course, the list isn't comprehensive, because there's a new one every week.

Rick Perry ‘retires’ to collect state pension while still governor

By Muriel Kane
Friday, December 16, 2011

Texas Governor and current Republican presidential candidate
Rick Perry appears to have pulled something of a fast one on
his state’s taxpayers by officially “retiring” earlier this
year so that he could begin collecting an annual pension of
$92,376 at the same time as he continues to draw his
$150,000 a year salary as governor.

The arrangement went into effect last January but became
public knowledge only this week, when Perry’s presidential
campaign filed the personal financial disclosure statement
after having previously received two successive delays.

Perry was asked about the payments during a campaign stop in
Iowa on Friday and replied, “That’s been in place for
decades … I don’t find that to be out of the ordinary. [The
Employee Retirement System] called me and said, ‘Listen
you’re eligible to access your retirement now with your
military time and your time and service, and I think you
would be rather foolish to not access what you’ve earned.’”

Iranian engineer claims simple GPS hack took U.S. drone down

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, December 16, 2011

An unnamed Iranian engineer reportedly working to reverse-engineer a U.S. drone recently captured by Revolutionary Guard forces told a reporter for The Christian Science Monitor that the aircraft was downed through a relatively unsophisticated cyber-attack that tricked its global positioning systems (GPS).

The technique, known as “GPS spoofing,” has been around for several years, and the Iranians began studying it in 2007, the engineer reportedly said. The U.S. Department of Energy notes that GPS is widely used, but insecure, although few users have taken note. GPS signals for the U.S. military are similarly insecure, and drones often rely on signals from multiple satellites.

“With spoofing, an adversary provides fake GPS signals. This convinces the GPS receiver that it is located in the wrong place and/or time,” the vulnerability assessment team at Argonne National Laboratory explained. “Remarkably, spoofing can be accomplished without having much knowledge about electronics, computers, or GPS itself.”

Worse yet for U.S. forces, it’s an exploit the Iranians reportedly learned after reverse engineering other U.S. drones they shot down, gaining a key bit of leverage against not just drones, but virtually any U.S. military hardware that depends on the same easily exploited signals. READ MORE

Anonymous declares war on Congress with #OpAccountable

By Muriel Kane Friday, December 16, 2011 The National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 has been assailed by civil libertarians for its provisions which allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial. Now the hacktivist collective Anonymous has joined the battle in its own distinctive manner, declaring war on the members of Congress who voted for the legislation under the operation name #OpAccountable. “This is an open letter to the US leaders,” the operation wrote in a document released on Friday, which cited both the NDAA and attempts to pass so-called anti-piracy legislation that critics fear would amount to preemptive censorship of the Internet. READ MORE

Bill Black's Handy Guide to Bankster Fraud, From 'Small Fraudulent Fry' to 'Septic Tank Scum'

The white collar criminologist calls out Bush and Obama for not prosecuting financial fraud and demands an end to the free pass for campaign contributors.
December 20, 2011

Sixty Minutes' December 11, 2011 interview of President Obama included a claim by Obama that, unfortunately, did not lead the interviewer to ask the obvious, essential follow-up questions.

“I can tell you, just from 40,000 feet, that some of the most damaging behavior on Wall Street, in some cases, some of the least ethical behavior on Wall Street, wasn't illegal.”

Obama did not explain what Wall Street behavior he found least ethical or what unethical Wall Street actions he believed was not illegal. It would have done the world (and Obama) a great service had he been asked these questions. He would not have given a coherent answer because his thinking on these issues has never been coherent. READ MORE

GOP ‘family values’ mayor admits he’s gay

A Republican mayor in Mississippi admitted this week that he
was gay after an audit revealed that he spent taxpayer money
at a gay adult store in Canada.

Greg Davis was elected as the mayor of Southaven in 1997 on
a platform of conservative “family values,” but he says he
recently realized that he was gay.

“At this point in my life and in my career, while I have
tried to maintain separation between my personal and public
life, it is obvious that this can no longer remain the
case,” the mayor, now in his third term, told The Commercial


Eliot Spitzer: Our Rallying Cry Should Be, "We Own Wall Street and We Can Stop Corporate America's Worst Behavior."

If the public exercised its ownership capacity by influencing board member selection, compensation, and political donations, then these companies would be fundamentally altered.
December 21, 2011

As the year ends, American politics remains mired in the agenda of the right. The House is, at least momentarily, refusing to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits—two policies genuinely beneficial to the middle class. And the presidential campaign heading into the Iowa primaries is dominated by the libertarianism of Ron Paul and the astonishing, appalling ideas—eliminate child labor laws, for instance—of Newt Gingrich.

Yes, Occupy Wall Street changed the debate for a brief spell, and, yes, President Obama harkened back to the glory days of progressivism with his Kansas speech. But in general American politics has lost sight of the most important crisis of our generation: the shrinking middle class.

So let me offer some advice to Democrats and progressives seeking to capture the attention of the American people. READ MORE

Iowa Man Tells Newt Gingrich You're a F*cking A**hole

Robertson: SNL Tebow skit fueled by ‘anti-Christian bigotry’

By Andrew Jones
Monday, December 19, 2011

Incensed over Saturday Night Live‘s light-hearted skit on Jesus and football quarterback Tim Tebow, Pat Robertson provided another stern lecture Monday morning to his viewers.

On the latest episode of The 700 Club, the televangelist thought the segment was brought on by “an anti-Christian bigotry that’s disgusting.”

“If this had been a Muslim country and they had done that, and had Muhammad doing that stuff, you would have found bombs being thrown off, and bodies on the street,” he said. “We need more religious faith in our society, we’re losing our moral compass in our nation.”

Robertson went on to praise Tebow for his faith.

“I think he is a wonderful human being,” he said. “And this man has been placed in a unique position and I applaud him, God bless him.”

In 2010, Tebow and his family filmed an anti-abortion Super Bowl ad for Focus on the Family.

PAT Robertson vid

SNL vid

5 of the Biggest Hacks in American Media

Excerpted from Alex Pareene and Salon's 2011 Hack List, here are five of the worst, most predictable and least interesting pundits in America.
December 19, 2011

The Salon Hack List is a list of our least favorite political commentators, newspaper columnists, political news show hosts, and constant cable news presences, ranked roughly (but only roughly) in order of awfulness and then described rudely. Criteria for inclusion included being wrong about literally everything, shameless sycophancy, appearing on “Morning Joe” and being “Morning Joe.”

Last year, our countdown was based on each hack’s entire career. We’re still looking at their whole bodies of work, but we’re focusing on the hackiest thing each entrant did in this rapidly ending year. READ MORE

Revolutions Don't Happen in a Day: 5 Ways OWS Can Stay Powerful and Truly Build a Movement

Social transformation means not only harnessing a moment, but building a movement.
December 21, 2011

On September 17, we took Liberty Square, used it to begin to create the social norms and institutions of a society to come, and became the Occupy movement. We hit the streets fiercely, abandoning the metal barricades they once contained us in, rejecting the marching permits they offered us, refusing their sidewalks. We were dragged -- handcuffed -- into the front pages of people’s minds, and brought with us a story many were trying to silence; a story about the massive profits made by the tiny few through the exploitation of the many, a story about deep and systemic economic, political and social injustice. We danced in the streets and parks we reclaimed, and then in the jail cells they took us to when they realized we weren’t going home. We were confident, invincible; it’s hard to be afraid when the sun is out. READ MORE

Being 'Born-Again' Linked to More Brain Atrophy: Study

WEDNESDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults who say they've had a life-changing religious experience are more likely to have a greater decrease in size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain critical to learning and memory, new research finds. According to the study, people who said they were a "born-again" Protestant or Catholic, or conversely, those who had no religious affiliation, had more hippocampal shrinkage (or "atrophy") compared to people who identified themselves as Protestants, but not born-again. The study is published online in PLoS ONE. As people age, a certain amount of brain atrophy is expected. Shrinkage of the hippocampus is also associated with depression, dementia and Alzheimer's disease. In the study, researchers asked 268 people aged 58 to 84 about their religious affiliation, spiritual practices and life-changing religious experiences. Over the course of two to eight years, changes to the hippocampus were monitored using MRI scans. Read more: Watch sports videos you won't find anywhere else READ MORE

Gingrich: I’ll send a ‘U.S. Marshall’ to arrest any judge

By Andrew Jones Sunday, December 18, 2011 Continuing his crusade on the judicial system, GOP presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich said Sunday morning that he wouldn’t mind arresting any judge who he disagreed with. When asked by CBS’ Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer him if he would “send capital police down” to make any arrest, Gingrich specified further his comments from Saturday. “Sure, if you had to,” he said. “Or you’d instruct the Justice Department to send a U.S. Marshal.” Gingrich called the judicial branch of the U.S. government “the weakest branch of the three.” WATCH: Video from CBS, which was broadcast on December 18, 2011.

Gingrich: I’ll ‘ignore’ any Supreme Court ruling I disagree with

By Andrew Jones Saturday, December 17, 2011 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is doubling down from Thursday’s Fox News debate on his vow to abolish federal courts if he disagreed with their decision. According to The Hill, in a conference call with reporters, Gingrich indicated that it was in the president’s power as commander-in-chief to deem any Supreme Court ruling irrelevant if he or she in the White House disagreed. The former House Speaker used the Supreme Court’s ruling against the Bush administration exceeding its constitutional authority in handling suspected terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay in 2008 as a basis for his extreme view. READ MORE

Inside the 1 Percent's Texas Enclave: One of the Richest, Whitest and GOP-Friendliest Zip Codes

It's fair to call 75205, the zip code for most of Highland Park, the most enthusiastically Republican enclave in the country.
December 19, 2011

At a strip mall clogged with Ferraris and fashion boutiques, Beretta Gallery salesman Chris Cope shows me a framed photo of one of his best clients, an oilman posing next to a bounty of elephant tusks. In addition to selling massive safari rifles, this high-end Italian weapons emporium in the Dallas suburb of Highland Park supplies $130,000 Imperiale Montecarlo shotguns as well as petite .22s and chic, lockable handbags to conceal them. All told, it sells more firearms than any other Beretta outlet in the world. Last year, the store presented George W. Bush with a $250,000 shotgun engraved with the presidential seal, a picture of his Scotty dog, and "43" on the lever. The gun, which required more than a year to assemble, was a thank-you from Mr. Beretta for a military order of a half-million pistols.

The Great Republican Crackup:

How Angry, White, Southern Men Took Over the GOP and Made Our Government Into a War Zone The GOP's radicalism is dangerous for America. We need two political parties solidly grounded in the realities of governing. December 21, 2011 Two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the Republican crackup threatens the future of the Grand Old Party more profoundly than at any time since the GOP’s eclipse in 1932. That’s bad for America. The crackup isn’t just Romney the smooth versus Gingrich the bomb-thrower. Not just House Republicans who just scotched the deal to continue payroll tax relief and extended unemployment insurance benefits beyond the end of the year, versus Senate Republicans who voted overwhelmingly for it. Not just Speaker John Boehner, who keeps making agreements he can’t keep, versus Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who keeps making trouble he can’t control. And not just venerable Republican senators like Indiana’s Richard Lugar, a giant of foreign policy for more than three decades, versus primary challenger state treasurer Richard Mourdock, who apparently misplaced and then rediscovered $320 million in state tax revenues. READ MORE

Fischer: ‘Hitchens is in hell because God loves him’

Going a step further than Bob Bennett’s portrayal of Christopher Hitchens, controversial right-wing radio host Bryan Fischer thought the focus should be on where the late author’s afterlife will be spent. “If Christopher Hitchens is in fact in hell, he’s there because God loves him,” Fischer said. “Not because God hates him, but because God loves him.” He added: “To me, it would not be a loving thing to compel someone like Christopher Hitchens to spend the rest of eternity in a place that he hated. A place that he does not want to be.” WATCH: Video from Right-Wing Watch, which was published on December 17, 2011.

MN GOPer resigns over alleged ‘inappropriate relationship’

By Andrew Jones
Saturday, December 17, 2011

In yet another case of the GOP failing to uphold its “Family Values” mantle, Minnesota Republican Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch resigned from her leadership post after facing allegations of an “inappropriate relationship” with a staffer.

According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, Koch was confronted by her Republican colleagues about the matter, and removed herself from the top spot afterwards.

Earlier in the week, Koch neither confirmed or denied that the allegations were true to her state senators when they asked her, but considered resigning at that point.

“We’re here today with a lot of humility and some sadness and even shock,” said interim Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel Friday evening, who declined to identify the staffer. “There is no doubt that a manager cannot have such a relationship with someone they oversee, whose budget they oversee.”